Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

Saturday, November 03, 2012

New International Trade Crossing: Bridge Math

NITC Bridge Math
Click cartoon to enlarge.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on November 3, 2012 in Canadian Politics, U.S. politics, Western Standard | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

U.S. Libertarian Party calls the pay gap between private and federal workers 'appalling'

Recent data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis show that federal government workers get compensation, on average, more than twice as high as private-sector workers. That gap has expanded dramatically over the last decade. Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle released the following statement today:

"The numbers are appalling. In 2009, the average private-sector worker received $61,051 in total compensation, but the average federal government worker received $123,049. There is no excuse for this enormous, and growing, compensation gap.

"I guess you just can't beat a federal job. Very high pay, unbelievable benefits, extremely generous retirement plans, and near-perfect job security.

"And those retirement plans are often unfunded pensions, which will have to be paid by taxing our children and grandchildren, who never had the opportunity to vote when they were created.

"Apparently wishing to add insult to injury, government employee union reps have claimed that federal workers are entitled to their sky-high compensation because they are more educated and skilled than the rest of us. I have had many personal experiences with federal employees that indicate the exact opposite.

"The problem is that federal worker compensation is not set by the free market -- it's set by government fiat, which causes it to be artificially generous. Another factor is the monopoly government employee unions, which are able to extort that compensation up to even higher levels.

"One sure sign that federal employees are overpaid is that they never quit. Tad DeHaven of the Cato Institute has noted, '...in 2009, private sector employees quit at a rate that was more than eight times higher than federal employees.... This indicates that federal employees recognize that the generous combination of wages, benefits, and job security is hard to match in the private sector, so they stay put.'

"Libertarians support minimum government and maximum freedom. Unfortunately, federal employees have incentives to make government bigger, which makes us less free. With government employment paying more than the private sector, the rational self-interest of many workers will drive them to seek employment with the federal government.

"That's a formula for disaster.

"Libertarians want productive people working in the private sector to build our economy, not working for the government and hurting our economy.

"I would like to see an across-the-board pay cut for all federal workers. That would reduce federal spending, reduce the deficit, and reduce the insult to American private-sector workers. It also just might encourage some federal government employees to quit their jobs and seek more productive work in the private sector."

Note: The above is a press release from the U.S. Libertarian Party.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on August 12, 2010 in Libertarianism, U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (9)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Political ad watch: Peter Schiff's new campaign video accuses Linda McMahon of being liberal, and a kick in the groin to conservatives

Peter Schiff, candidate for Connecticut's senate and president of EuroPacific Capital, has released a new television advertisement destined to cause a commotion. Earlier today, Schiff was endorsed by Forbes magazine founder Steve Forbes. Schiff is touted as a Ron Paul Republican, and one of several candidates with strong ties to the Tea Party movement in the U.S.

Here's the ad:

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 29, 2010 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Peter Schiff garners endorsment from Steve Forbes

    

Peter Schiff, Ron Paul's former economic adviser, president of EuroPacific Capital, and candidate for Senate in Connecticut, garnered the endorsement of Forbes magazine founder Steve Forbes.

Schiff is commonly known as one of the few people to predict the economic crash back in 2006.

Here's the press release from the Schiff for Connecticut Senate:

Steve Forbes, a staunch defender of the free-market and one-time Presidential candidate, today endorsed Peter Schiff's bid for U.S. Senate in Connecticut.

"I have known Peter Schiff for several years. He has a deep knowledge of finance and economics," said Steve Forbes. "He had long warned of the troubles we now face. As your citizen-Senator he will be a fierce fighter for cutting spending, cutting taxes and repealing Obamacare."

Mr. Forbes has only endorsed three other candidates for U.S. Senate running in the 2010 election cycle: John McCain, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul.

"Steve Forbes understands the massive strains the American economy is under, and to have his backing and trust means a great deal to me," said Peter Schiff. "We need to restore free-market principles, get government out of the way and put people back to work. Steve's understanding of my vision, coupled with his backing, will help me get to Washington to make sure we grow the economy, not the government."

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 29, 2010 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Filibuster: A note to Tea Party activists from the NAACP

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J.J. McCullough writes:

The NAACP, one of America’s most eminent black civil rights groups, came out swinging at conservative Tea Party activists this week. In a resolution at their annual general meeting, the organization blasted the Tea Party for containing “racist elements,” and demanded the group fully repudiate the bigots within their midst.

“The time has come for them to accept the responsibility that comes with influence and make clear there is no space for racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in their movement,” declared NAACP president Ben Jealous after the resolution passed. Much of the racism allegations swirling around the Tea Party center on the sorts of protest signs many of its members have chosen to bring to their rallies. The NAACP website presently contains a little gallery of some of the most offensive ones, under the heading “don’t let hate divide America.” Among other crimes against humanity, we can see depictions of President Obama as Mr. T, or that jolly black chef from the cream of wheat box.

As a visual satirist myself, I have to say I find all of this a bit dopey. Unflattering visual analogies do not presuppose racist intent. Depicting the President of the United States as a witch-doctor or monkey is hardly new; practically every president has faced similarly unflattering analogies. I can particularly recall a lot of witch-doctor related parodying directed towards George Bush Sr., a man who coined the term “voodoo economics” to describe his own party’s fiscal philosophy. And of course we all remember how frequently his son was depicted as some sort of slope-browed chimpanzee.

We’re only reading more into this kind of stuff today because the president is black, so every bit of teasing that used to be regarded as innocuous is now scrutinized under the racial microscope.

While genuinely racist caricatures are obviously hateful and ignorant, I reject the premise that Obama’s race is completely off grounds for mockery. A public figure’s appearance is always a healthy source of material for satire. Again, we can think of all the times Dubya was teased for his vacant facial expressions, or the many grotesque caricatures of John McCain’s hideous neck-flesh. When making parodies, you compare people to things they look like, and the fact remains that Obama does look a lot more like the cream of wheat guy than Bush or Clinton.

Seems to me that a truly a non-racist political culture would see parody as parody, and not get excessively flustered trying to constantly find “hidden agendas” motivating everything. Sometimes a poster is just a poster.

J.J. McCullough is a political cartoonist from Coquitlam, British Columbia.

Posted by westernstandard on July 18, 2010 in Filibuster, U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Video: Ron Paul & the Instruments of Tyranny

You can call him a kook if you want, but one thing you can't deny is that Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul is fundamentally decent. And sincere. This little video reminded me of why I was so excited about his run to become the GOP's standard bearer:

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 15, 2010 in Libertarianism, U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Filibuster: Immigrant shopping

With (possibly) Lou Dobbs himself commenting on a post about a debate between Judge Andrew Napolitano and Lou Dobbs over rights and immigration, what better time to get this new comic from J.J. McCullough:

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Check out J.J.'s other cartoons (in a fancy flash app), as well as his commentary on this comic below the fold:

In what has been cynically analyzed as a last-ditch attempt to find a winning issue for his party, President Obama recently declared that the time is ripe for a new immigration debate in the United States. America’s present immigration system “is broken,” said the President. “And everybody knows it.”

As evidence of its brokenness, Obama called attention to the ongoing fallout over the controversial Arizona “show us your papers” law, which was of course prompted by the larger problem of illegal Mexican immigration in the Southern U.S. The latter issue is the narrow focus of nearly all immigration debate in America, and the prescribed “solutions” from the political establishment are usually amnesty schemes in one form or another. President Obama says he does not favour a “blanket amnesty” and wants illegals to be “held accountable” for breaking U.S. law, but beyond fines or temporary trips back to their home country, he still supports -- as do many Republicans -- some sort of “path to citizenship” for them in the long-term. Anything harsher is both cruel and impratical, they say.

It may well be. But immigration is a bigger issue than just that. When the President proceeds to declare that any future immigration bill must likewise “make it easier for the best and the brightest to come to start businesses and develop products and create jobs,” he is acknowledging the fact that most immigrants to the United States -- even the legal ones -- are not being imported for any clear economic purpose. It’s a little-discussed fact that most legal U.S. migrants in any given year are simply refugees or the family members of existing immigrants, with qualified, accredited, ready-to-work professionals only representing a minority.

At some point Americans need to have a frank discussion about what they want and need their immigration system to actually do -- both for the betterment of the nation, and the interests of its existing, native-born citizenry. Illegals may grab everyone’s attention, but they are hardly the only issue in a very complex and multi-dimensional national dilemma.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 14, 2010 in Humour, U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

Did Lou Dobbs just chime in on a Shotgun thread?

I wrote about a "feisty" exchange between Lou Dobbs and Judge Andrew Napolitano here. Earlier today, someone claiming to be Lou Dobbs weighed in. A quick IP address check confirmed that it's at least plausible that it was the Lou Dobbs. What makes it more likely is the tone and style of the comment.

Since Dobbs wasn't happy with the post, and with some of the early commenters, I thought I'd bring up his comment to the main thread:

The author of this post tortured reason and reality to avoid the acknowlegment that American and Canadian rights have been won with blood over more than two centuries, and that there is no nation in the world that assures greater individual freedom than the United States.

Your commentariat didn't listen to my statements, or didn't understand them. They obviously find the Canadian trade surplus with America to be greatly supportive of their politics and fascination with irrelevant, and grossly misplaced, labels. I am an American independent traditional conservative, and immensely taken with the idea that the American democratic constitutional republic is worth preserving.

Posted by: lou dobbs | 2010-07-14 4:01:21 AM

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 14, 2010 in Canadian Conservative Politics, Free trade, U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Will Sarah Palin run for president in 2012? Probably

Says Politico:

The report, filed with the Federal Election Commission, shows that Palin’s political action committee raised more money in the second quarter of this year – $866,000 – than it had in any previous three-month stretch since Palin formed the group in January 2009.

The committee, SarahPAC, also spent nearly twice as much – $742,000 – as it had in any previous quarter, the lion’s share of which went to the type of list-building and fundraising (including its first major direct-mail campaign) that typically undergird top-tier political committees... It also showed continued payments for that speechwriting as well as foreign and domestic policy consulting, and its first ever payments to a scheduler.

In short, for the first time since the 2008 campaign when she was the vice-presidential running mate to GOP presidential candidate John McCain, Palin is supported by a political operation befitting someone considering a presidential run.

I really do hope Sarah Palin runs for president. Where else will we get such classic political fodder like this SarahPAC identity politics advertisement?:

Or these classic bumblings?:

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 12, 2010 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

Judge Andrew Napolitano v. Lou Dobbs on rights and illegal immigration

(UPDATE: Someone purporting to be Lou Dobbs chimes in in the comments. Do please take a look to see why I, and some early commenters, raised his ire.)

Who knew Lou Dobbs was a positivist?

Judge Andrew Napolitano, whose show "Freedom Watch" on Fox News is eminently watchable, asked Dobbs a few tough questions. What piqued my interest was Napolitano's persistent insistence that the rights and liberties Americans enjoy are the birthright of human beings in virtue of their humanity, rather than something they get because a bunch of politicians got together and decided to write it down on a piece of paper.

Dobbs agreed that foreigners are just as human as Americans are, but wasn't entirely sure what to make of Napolitano's claims about natural law. Maybe he was just confused about the distinction between the descriptive and the normative, between what is and what ought to be.

Maybe Dobbs takes issue with the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, which claims that all men are created equal (and not just American men), and that governments are instituted for the purpose of protecting individual rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It's interesting to note a little piece of trivia: The U.S. Constitution prohibits only two types of private action (everything else is a restriction on what the government can do. So please stop arguing that illegal immigrants, or foreigners in general, are not protected by the Constitution in the U.S. They most decidedly are, since the Constitution addresses itself to what the U.S. government is permitted to do within its jurisdiction). Those two actions? Individuals in the U.S. cannot own slaves (thirteenth amendment), and, for a time anyways, they had to put up with prohibition (eighteenth amendment). Happily, the latter was repealed. So, really, there's now only one thing in the Constitution addressing itself to what Americans can't do.

Getting back on track: the feisty exchange between Napolitano and Dobbs is especially interesting in the wake of two state legislatures openly considering Arizona's SB 1070 law, which makes it okay for police officers to ask foreigny-looking types for their papieren. Surprisingly, two Florida legislators (William Snyder and Mike Bennett, both Republican) are busy drafting a bill. Unsurprisingly, and unfortunately so, Mississippi is thinking of following suit as well:

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 12, 2010 in American History, Libertarianism, U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (62)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Don't mess with Medina: Tea Party activist Debra Medina is threatening to stir things up in Texas

Medina

The Texas Republican gubernatorial primary was supposed to be a really big battle between two very large and important Goliaths. But a little David showed up and is threatening to toss a bag of tea in both their faces.

Debra Medina, a nurse and entrepreneur, entered the GOP's gubernatorial primary with little to no fanfare. The "tea party" activist and Ron Paul organizer was expected to register, well, not at all. The first poll seemed to confirm her status as an also-ran -- registering a mere four per cent as against two-term Texas governor Rick Perry at 46 per cent, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison at 35 per cent.

But then a few remarkable things happened. For one, Medina appeared to clean house in the first televised debate between the three candidates. Just about everyone thought Medina had won the debate. And she got a little bit of traction. In fact, and for two, she got just enough traction to be invited to the major televised debate, the state-wide "Belo" debate, aired on several major networks across Texas.

The Belo debate requires that a candidate receive 15 per cent in a major poll in order to be included. After the first debate, Medina managed to more than double her polling numbers from four to 12 per cent. That put Medina within the margin of error of 15 per cent, and the Belo folks decided that she should be included.

The second debate did not have a clear winner, although, having watched it, my own conviction is that Medina outperformed the other candidates (You can judge for yourself by following the link at the bottom of this post and watching the debate for yourself). Although a local Fox affiliate seemed to think Medina did surprisingly well:

Still, Medina's biggest problem was name recognition and simple awareness. And Medina simply can't compete with the campaign war chests of Perry and Hutchison -- both of whom have raised in excess of a whopping $10 million dollars, compared with Medina's comparatively meager half-a-million -- so paying for television commercials to blanket the state is not an option. Measured in those terms, the underdog may or may not have won the debate, but she certainly won in terms of advertising and getting her message out.

That message is beginning to resonate more and more. Medina wants to eliminate the state property tax and replace it with an increased consumption tax. She is a fierce fiscal conservative, and recites the U.S. Constitution with a familiarity and ease that neither of the other two candidates seem to possess. She carries a gun in her car, and insists that Texas needs to be friendlier to the Second Amendment. She shares the convictions of Ron Paul fans, as well as the Tea Party movement sweeping the U.S.

Do I have proof that the message is resonating more and more? Sure I do. After the Belo debate, Medina's numbers moved from 12 to 16 per cent. Meanwhile, today, Public Policy Polling released an astounding poll (PDF), putting Medina's support at a whopping 24 per cent, compared with Perry's 39 and Hutchison's 28 per cent (margin of error at +/- 4.8 per cent).

That wouldn't be a really big deal, since there isn't a lot of time before the election (March 2nd), and Perry is still more than ten points above his nearest competitor. Except that Texas is a primary run-off state. If Perry doesn't get more than 51 per cent, the last place candidate is dropped, and we have a run-off between the top two vote-getters. If Medina manages to get more votes than Hutchison, now a distinct possibility, she may just manage to eke it out, and secure a victory on a par with Scott Brown's surprise election in Massachusetts.

[You can watch the first KERA debate as well as the second BELO debate by following this link]

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on February 9, 2010 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (13)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Michael Moore's In-Action Plan

I used to be a fan of Michael Moore. I saw his film Roger and Me soon after it was released and liked his style of confronting people that were scuz-balls and putting them on the spot.

Bowling for Columbine was a great movie that took an interesting look at the culture of violence.

The Awful Truth was a fun series that exposed corporate entanglement with government and corruption.

Fahrenheit 9/11 was a disappointment, it seemed like a feature-length personal attack on George Bush, who likely deserved it, but I never saw the film more than once.

Sicko was a decent film, fun, interesting, though his conclusions about the government taking over health care (after he talked about how terrible government was in Fahrenheit 9/11) I think are faulty. Many Canadians who saw it noticed that the negative aspects of socialized medicine were not talked about.

Capitalism: A Love Story I haven't seen yet, though I can guess what the content will be like; moving Moore's editorial content further and further along the path of socialism.

That brings me to a recent blog post that Mr. Moore recently made. "Michael Moore's Action Plan: 15 Things Every American Can Do Right Now"

I'm going to focus on the first 5 things in this list, which would more accurately be called

"5 Things We Can Do to Control Other People and Businesses Against Their Will"

1. Declare a moratorium on all home evictions. Not one more family should be thrown out of their home. The banks must adjust their monthly mortgage payments to be in line with what people's homes are now truly worth -- and what they can afford. Also, it must be stated by law: If you lose your job, you cannot be tossed out of your home.

Mr. Moore doesn't believe in personal responsibility it seems, of course it the fault of the evil banks that people took out mortgages they couldn't afford. If your home is worth $200,000, but you can only afford to pay $300 a month, perhaps you should move into a less expensive home. If you lose your job, live within your means.

2. Congress must join the civilized world and expand Medicare For All Americans. A single, nonprofit source must run a universal health care system that covers everyone. Medical bills are now the #1 cause of bankruptcies and evictions in this country. Medicare For All will end this misery.

The civilized world is realizing that "free" health care is a laborious, bureaucratic system that is heavy on top end management and low on getting results, like any other government program. 50% of all health dollars in the U.S. is spent by the government already, increasing that closer to 100% won't make it better. The answer is to get government out of health care completely and let the free market handle it.

3. Demand publicly-funded elections and a prohibition on elected officials leaving office and becoming lobbyists. Yes, those very members of Congress who solicit and receive millions of dollars from wealthy interests must vote to remove ALL money from our electoral and legislative process. Tell your members of Congress they must support campaign finance bill H.R.1826.

So he wants to tell people what they can and can't do for work. Hey Michael, butt out and let people make their own decisions! He also wants the public to pay for the campaigns of the various parties. Ummm, no thanks, I have no interest in paying for the campaign of some politician who wants to run my life. If you want to remove the influence of lobbyists on government, reduce the power of the government and the lobbyists have less incentive to lobby.

4. Each of the 50 states must create a state-owned public bank like they have in North Dakota. Then congress MUST reinstate all the strict pre-Reagan regulations on all commercial banks, investment firms, insurance companies -- and all the other industries that have been savaged by deregulation: Airlines, the food industry, pharmaceutical companies -- you name it. If a company's primary motive to exist is to make a profit, then it needs a set of stringent rules to live by -- and the first rule is "Do no harm." The second rule: The question must always be asked -- "Is this for the common good?"

Message for Mr. Moore, SOCIALISM DOESN'T WORK! Eventually you run out of other people’s money! If the rule if "do no harm", then how about the government quit forcing the people of North Dakota to fund a bank that they may or may not have any interest in funding! Forcing people to fund your pet projects IS harming them. As for the common good, it is a meaningless statement. EVERYBODY is part of the common, some things that iare good for some may not be good for others.

5. Save this fragile planet and declare that all the energy resources above and beneath the ground are owned collectively by all of us. Just like they do it in Sarah Palin's socialist Alaska. We only have a few decades of oil left. The public must be the owners and landlords of the natural resources and energy that exists within our borders or we will descend further into corporate anarchy. And when it comes to burning fossil fuels to transport ourselves, we must cease using the internal combustion engine and instruct our auto/transportation companies to rehire our skilled workforce and build mass transit (clean buses, light rail, subways, bullet trains, etc.) and new cars that don't contribute to climate change. (For more on this, here's a proposal I wrote in December.) Demand that General Motors' de facto chairman, Barack Obama, issue a JFK man-on-the-moon-style challenge to turn our country into a nation of trains and buses and subways. For Pete's sake, people, we were the ones who invented (or perfected) these damn things in the first place!!

More socialism. How far above the ground do we own all of it? How far beneath the ground? Who decides what that number is? Do you own the sunlight above my house that I collect with solar panels? If so, do I need to cut you a check for having harnessed that power. This idea of "collectively" owning resources is silly. It is a matter of private property.

So Michael Moore's answer is "let the government take it over and run it", because of course the government has such a great history of running things smoothly, and on budget, and on time, without being influenced by lobbyists and special interests, etc. That was sarcasm BTW.

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I welcome feedback and I ask for civility in the exchange of comments. Vulgarity is discouraged. Please express yourself creatively with other language. We discuss ideas here, attacks on a person are discouraged.

Posted by Freedom Manitoba on October 24, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's not who votes that counts but who counts the votes: Clerk of U.S. House Publishes 2008 Election Returns

From Ballot Access News:

Ever since 1920, the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives has published a booklet entitled “Statistics of the Presidential and Congressional Election” after each presidential election. The Clerk has just published the 2008 booklet. It is 77 pages long and can be seen here.

This booklet uses arbitrary standards. For example, in the presidential table at the rear of the book, the “Independent” column contains the Ralph Nader vote, and Nader is properly credited with votes from every state but Oklahoma (because Oklahoma bans write-ins). This is true, even though Nader had different ballot labels in different states. In most states it was “independent” but in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah, it was something else. But, the “Independent” column collected all of Nader’s votes, regardless of label.

However, in the next-door column, the “Libertarian” column does not include any votes for Bob Barr from Tennessee. Instead, the authors of the table put the Tennessee Barr vote in the “Other” column, because Barr’s ballot label in Tennessee was “independent.” Also the chart omits Barr’s Maine write-in votes, even though the Secretary of State tallied them.

Read the rest.

And who does count the votes? It's whoever fills the office of Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, in this case Lorraine Miller, former director of intergovernmental relations for Nancy Pelosi (the woman now second in the US Presidential line of succession after VP Joe Biden). But don't worry, the Clerk is not always a Democrat, when the Republicans are in charge, they put in own of their own. That's democracy folks, popular sovereignty--government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on July 29, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Peter Schiff talks about his father, the tax protester Irwin Schiff

The crew from the Motorhome Diaries stopped by Euro Pacific Capital, Peter Schiff's investment company, recently. They sat down to speak with Peter, who is planning a possible run for the Connecticut Senate, about his father, Irwin Schiff. Here's the video:

Irwin Schiff was convicted recently at the age of 81, to serve a 13-year sentence for tax evasion. Irwin claims that the federal income tax in the U.S. is unconstitutional, and does not have legal weight. To prove it, he refused to pay his income tax. The government put him in prison.

Peter Schiff is well known in the Austrian economics community, as well as amongst fans of Texas Congressman and former Republican leadership contestant Ron Paul, for his Austrian-based prediction of the housing and stock market collapse. He is currently predicting significant declines in the value of the U.S. dollar.

Here's a video compilation of Peter Schiff's predictions before the recession:

The crew of the Motorhome Diaries (Jason Talley and Pete Eyre) will be in attendance at this year's Liberty Summer Seminar over the July 25, 26 weekend.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 17, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (12)

Friday, July 03, 2009

Sarah Palin will resign as governor of Alaska

Sarah-palin-1

Former Republican vice-presidential candidate and governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, announced this afternoon that she will resign as governor effective July 25.

"Once I decided not to run for re-election, I also felt that to embrace the conventional Lame Duck status in this particular climate would just be another dose of politics as usual, something I campaigned against and will always oppose," Palin wrote in a release on her website.

"It is my duty to always protect our great state. With that in mind, my family and I determined that it is best to make a difference this summer, and I am willing to change things, so that this administration, with its positive agenda, its accomplishments, and its successful road to an incredible future, can continue without interruption and with great administrative and legislative success."

Sarah Palin, who was voted the "most controversial celebrity" of 2008, will be replaced as governor by the current lieutenant governor Sean Parnell on Saturday, July 25th.

Some are speculating that this move will give her more time to focus on running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

Politico reports:

By not running for re-election, Palin liberates herself from the political constraints that come with running for president while still in elected office.

Leaving office at the end of the month, the former vice presidential hopeful will be able to travel the country more freely without facing the sort of repeated ethics inquiries she’s been fending off since returning to Alaska earlier this year.

Here is initial video of her resignation:

This story is developing...

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on July 3, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (9)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

SC Gov. Mark Sanford was cheating on his wife

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford

In a story that seems to get stranger by the day, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has admitted to having an extramarital affair.

The odd series of events began developing over the weekend when it became apparent that the governor's whereabouts were unknown and news surfaced that he did not spend fathers day with his children.

The media circus intensified when he failed to show up for work on Monday. The governor's office later issued a statement saying that he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

However, this morning, the governor was found at the airport on his way home from Buenos Aires. He initially told reporters that he had been vacationing by himself, but later admitted to having a long-running affair with a woman he met in Argentina.

While I don't generally think that a politician's sex life should be any of our business, the fact that he was caught in a series of blatant lies could be a career ending move.

This is really too bad because Sanford, a small government libertarian, was a rising star in the Republican Party and a potential 2012 presidential candidate. The Western Standard previously reported on Sanford here and here.

The moral of the story? Make sure you have an air-tight alibi before skipping town to have sex with your mistress. I thought this was cheating 101.

The governor held a press conference on this matter, which can be seen via the player below.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Posted by Jesse Kline on June 24, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (8)

Monday, May 18, 2009

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford: "Throw me in that briar patch, I'm guilty. I love liberty."

Governor Mark Sanford (R-South Carolina) responds in this short video to criticisms that he might be "too libertarian" in a way that more politicians ought to.

Find some more of The Shotgun Blog previous coverage of Sanford here, here, and here.

Posted by Janet Neilson on May 18, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ron Paul has a good discussion on Morning Joe

Worth watching. It's good to see someone out there explaining sound economics. Ron Paul was not a "prophet" as Scarborough suggests, there were many people (especially economists influenced by Mises and Hayek's thinking on business cycles) who saw the trend and knew what was going to happen to the economy--now those free-market economists are speaking out against the crude Keynesianism that's evidently dominant among the self-proclaimed intelligentsia.

What the heck is Ron Paul talking about when he goes on about the Austrian theory of the business cycle? Let's hear it from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announcing the 1974 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics:

von Hayek's contributions in the field of economic theory are both profound and original. His scientific books and articles in the twenties and thirties aroused widespread and lively debate. Particularly, his theory of business cycles and his conception of the effects of monetary and credit policies attracted attention and evoked animated discussion. He tried to penetrate more deeply into the business cycle mechanism than was usual at that time. Perhaps, partly due to this more profound analysis, he was one of the few economists who gave warning of the possibility of a major economic crisis before the great crash came in the autumn of 1929.

von Hayek showed how monetary expansion, accompanied by lending which exceeded the rate of voluntary saving, could lead to a misallocation of resources, particularly affecting the structure of capital. This type of business cycle theory with links to monetary expansion has fundamental features in common with the postwar monetary discussion.

(h/t Lew)

Posted by Kalim Kassam on May 15, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

We're all statists now

As J.J. Jackson pointed out in an essay in Enter Stage Right this week, Americans (and Canadians, of course) talk a good game about smaller government but in reality most of them are as addicted to the government teat as the targets of their ire.

The reason why I bring this up is a new poll conducted by Fox News suggests that a huge majority of Americans want less government in their lives and think spending is out of control.

That's nice, but I imagine once you get down to a granular level, where we start addressing individual government programs that many Americans "benefit" from, I imagine the numbers demanding a shrinkage in government would rapidly diminish. No different from Canadians, of course, who complain about welfare queens but vociferously support things like socialized health care, the Canada Wheat Board and middle class entitlements.

Posted by Steve Martinovich on May 15, 2009 in Economic freedom, U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Your awesome Obama painting of the day: "The Truth" by Michael D'Antuono depicts Obama-as-Christ to mark his first 100 days in office

Obama_christ

The picture above is not satire. "The Truth," as it's called, painted by Michael D'Antuono will go on exhibit beginning this Wednesday, April 29 on the South Plaza of Union Square Park at 14th Street in New York City timed to coincide with U.S. president Barack Obama's first 100 days in office.

From the press release:

Michael D'Antuono may raise more questions than answers when he unveils his highly controversial new painting, "The Truth" on the South Plaza of NYC's Union Square on the 100th day of Barack Obama's presidency. The artist's politically-, religiously- and socially-charged statement on our nation's current political climate and deep partisan divide has been privately raising eyebrows (and voices) since its creation.

The 30" x 54" acrylic painting on canvas depicts President Obama appearing much like Jesus Christ on the Cross; atop his head, a crown of thorns. Behind him, the dark veil being lifted (or lowered) on the Presidential Seal. But is he revealing or concealing and is he being crucified or glorified?

D'Antuono insists that this piece is a mirror; reflecting the personal opinions and emotions of the viewer; that "The Truth" like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. D'Antuono expects that individual interpretations will vary as widely as they do in the political arena. The work will be seen by one viewer at a time behind a voting booth-inspired public installation.

Until now, Mr. D'Antuono has chosen to paint purely non-political subject matter, opting instead for iconic celebrity portraits and hard-luck romantic narratives. However, now the artist feels the need to make a statement. "Aided by the media, politics has taken a nasty turn in the last decade and I firmly believe that this is one of the underlying causes of our nation's current problems," says D'Antuono.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on April 25, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (9)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Are "Tea Parties" good, bad, or neutral?

On their face, grassroots taxpayer revolts sound like just the kind of thing we need. But a bit of careful observation brings into question the true motivation, nature and value of the now common "Tea Party" springing up across the U.S. (I talk about the U.S. because I don't know if Canada has anything similar going on).

Jack McHugh blogs about the possible pitfalls of these parties:

The Tea Party movement is a genuine bottom-up. grassroots protest. It’s fueled by angst and rage arising from a feeling of helplessness at the realization that the people have lost control of their government.

 

What many people don’t recognize yet is the proper target of their rage: a self-serving, self perpetuating, inbred and bipartisan political class.

 

Some in the Tea Party movement think that it’s a protest against Democrats. I refer them to “Government, massive expansion of, 2001-2006” – a period during which Republicans held all the marbles.

He goes on to mention the dangers of letting members of the partisan political class - namely Republicans - in on the party. They inevitably will try to hijack the spotlight and use their permanent political apparatus to claim credit for the movement.

A word to those truly upset about spending, bailouts, tax hikes and government largess: don't buy it. Don't give in to the siren calls of so-called conservative Republicans. Conservative grass-roots people, and even some libertarians, are like an abused girlfriend. They keep believing that this time, he really has changed. This time he'll be sweet. He's not such a bad guy underneath, he just loses control sometimes.  Witness the new found love for Republicans after they (reluctantly) voted 'no' on the stimulus.

Grassroots conservatives might need an intervention. It is not, nor will it ever be, by politicians that any salvation will come.  McHugh goes on, and posts one of my favorite quotes from Milton Friedman:

"Parties aren’t about principles, they’re about power – getting and keeping it.

 

Restoring limited, representative government will only happen when both political parties and all politicians are forced to align not just their words but their behavior with this goal. Here’s how Milton Friedman described how to accomplish that:

 

“The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office.”

True. Will people take heed, and display a genuine revolt against the political class? Or will they simply vent frustration with one party, and accept a leader of the other party as savior?

McHugh has another earlier post on the value of rage vs. that of hope as a tool for long-term political change.  I'll give you a hint - hope is better.

UPDATE (from the General Manager): Welcome Instalanche hordes!

Feel free to stick around and poke about the website of the Western Standard, Canada's libertarian/conservative news outlet of record and this here Shotgun Blog.

Recently, we reviewed Gerry Nicholls' book about his former friend and colleague, Canadian Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in which he argues the importance maintaining a separation between the conservative movement and the Conservative Party of Canada (this point seems particularly important following Harper's atrocious stimulus budget and subsequent disavowal of fiscal conservatives and libertarians).

Other items of potential interest, our founding publisher Ezra Levant talking about his new book on Canada's anti-free speech Human Rights Commissions (coming to a jurisdiction near you?), a post exploring where in the world people are reading Rand and where they're reading Marx, and, naturally, Stalin vs. Martians: the videogame.

Posted by Isaac Morehouse on April 11, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (11)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Tax day cat-fights in the U.S.?

Fans of freedom in the U.S. are gearing up for Tax Day Tea Parties and protests. But Fox News reports that tea parties might not be as cordial and friendly as planned:

On Fox News Channel’s April 7 “Your World,” host Neil Cavuto reported that the Tax Day tea party protests on April 15 will be “infiltrated” by their political opponents and led by left-wing activist organizations. He specifically named Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

“Only eight days before a nationwide tea party, some over-caffeinated crashers aiming to lay waste to it,” Cavuto said. “Reports of very well-organized infiltrators trying to mix in and rain on this parade. Talk about taxing.”

Since Fox News is usually a little too lewd and crude for my taste, I typically get my Fox-fill via hearsay like the above. Given the usually-sensationalist nature of Fox News reporting, ACORN could be planning to do nothing more unfortunate than toss organic chicken eggs at Tax Day protesters. Or perhaps we have another civil war in the making. Either way, rest assured that no matter what happens, Neil Cavuto's jokes about it will fall flat. As usual.

h/t: Infowars

Posted by Alina on April 8, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, March 02, 2009

Congressman Paul Ryan and the Republican road map

The ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan, wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. In it he blasts Obama for increasing the size of government and proposes four policies to help the economy.

- A pro-growth tax policy. Rather than raise the top marginal income tax rate to 39.6%, it should be dropped to 25%. The lower tax brackets should be collapsed to one 10% rate on the first $100,000 for couples. And the top corporate tax rate should be lowered to 25%. This modest reform would put American companies' tax liability more in line with the prevailing rates of our competitors.

- Guarantee sound money. For the last decade, the Federal Reserve's easy-money policy has helped fuel the housing bubble that precipitated our current crisis. We need to return to a sound money policy. That would end uncertainty, help keep interest rates down, and increase the confidence entrepreneurs and investors need to take the risks required for future growth.

- Fix the financial sector. A durable economic recovery requires a solution to the banking crisis. There are no easy or painless solutions, but the most damaging solution over the long term would be to nationalize our financial system. Once we put politicians in charge of allocating credit and resources in our economy, it is hard to imagine them letting go.

- Get a grip on entitlements. With $56 trillion in unfunded liabilities and our social insurance programs set to implode, we must tackle the entitlement crisis. President Barack Obama deserves credit for his recent efforts to build a bipartisan consensus on entitlement reform. But we can't solve the entitlement problem unless we acknowledge why the costs are exploding, and then take action.

I am glad to see that more and more Republicans are coming out and denying that they are Keynesians. I have great hope that the Republican Party will become a born again free market party.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on March 2, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, February 27, 2009

(Video) Ron Paul's speech at CPAC

Here's a warm reception and crowd for Texas congressman Ron Paul, one of our favourite congresstypes in the U.S. Here's a nice quote from Dr. No:

"I think the conservative movement has had trouble defining conservative. We finally get the house, senate, and presidency, and what did we do? We doubled the size of the department of education - I thought we were going to eliminate it! Here's how you can identify a conservative: they must be willing to defend the constitution."

Part 2 and 3 below the fold.

Part 2:

Part 3:

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on February 27, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oklahoma House passes 10th Amendment state sovereignty bill

Billofrights Earlier this month, I wrote that:

A spate of... "10th Amendment resolutions" at the state level seems to have been sparked with last year's failed HJR 1089 [pdf] in Oklahoma "claiming sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over certain powers; serving notice to the federal government to cease and desist certain mandates; and directing distribution." The sponsor of that bill, Rep. Charles Key (R) is working on introducing similar legislation (HJR 1003) [rtf] this year which he says is likely to pass as a Republican-controlled Legislature convenes for the first time in state history.

Rep. Key's bill is one of the eight similar pieces of legislation which have been introduced this year asserting state sovereignty under the US Constitution's 9th and 10th Amendments in Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington; twelve more states are expected to follow suit.

WorldNetDaily reports:

Oklahoma's House of Representatives is the first legislative body to pass a state sovereignty resolution this year under the terms of the Tenth Amendment.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 1003 Feb. 18 by a wide margin, 83 to 13, resolving, "That the State of Oklahoma hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States."

The language of HJR 1003 further serves notice to the federal government "to cease and desist, effectively immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers."

The sponsor of the resolution, state Rep. Charles Key, told WND the measure was a 'big step toward addressing the biggest problem we have in this country – the federal government violating the supreme law of the land."

"The Constitution either means what it says, or it doesn't mean anything at all," Key said. "The federal government must honor and obey the Constitution, just like the states and this citizens of this country are obligated to do, or our system of government begins to fall apart."

The Ninth Amendment reads, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." The Tenth Amendment specifically provides, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

More details here.

Recently, the Shotgun Blog highlighted an appearance by Rep. Dan Itse, the sponsor of New Hampshire's House Concurrent Resolution 6 "affirming States’ rights based on Jeffersonian principles," on Fox News' Glenn Beck Program.

UPDATE: The John Birch Society has a very useful tracking page with direct links and status updates for the "10th Amendment resolutions" in the various states.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on February 25, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (23)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Your awesome Obama picture of the day: It's true! He's "The One"

Anybody else sick of what is beginning to look like a concerted effort on the part of news photographers to capture Obama with a halo or in poses that make him appear like some kind of religious figure?:

Obamessiah

Source

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on February 24, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Michael Steele's Gangsta Old Party

Everyone's having fun with newly-elected RNC Chairman Michael Steele's pledge, in an effort to revive the lumbering Republican Party by expanding its appeal to new younger constituencies, to rebrand the party with an "off the hook" PR campaign applying the principles of the "modern day GOP" to "urban-suburban hip-hop settings."

While the results of the Steele's campaign might be worth a few laughs, it can hardly turn out worse than the Republican Party's last attempt at minority outreach, the Bush/Rove "ownership society" plan to turn Hispanics into GOP voters by pushing low down payment home loans on them and other minorities, which further inflated the housing bubble with disastrous results. But in case you thought the rebranding effort ahead of Steele was impossible as well as comical, it may seem less far-fetched if you buy Eli Lake's arguments from a bloggingheads.tv discussion last October that the GOP is the natural party of gangsta rap:

Posted by Kalim Kassam on February 20, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Glenn Beck interviews Dan Itse about New Hampshire's bid to declare sovereignty under the Constitution

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on February 18, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, U.S. edition

"Hope" and "Change" are on their way, American friends!

For example, already your new boss, president Obama, is planning on spending a whole boatload of money -- close to a trillion, and probably more than that once everything is said and done -- in an economic surge that will (maybe) save the economy or (maybe, but let's hope not) increase economic problems, but will (definitely) cost your children plenty.

This is very, very different from what your old boss, former president W. Bush, was busy doing with Iraq. There, he was spending a boatload of money -- close to a trillion, and probably more than that once everything is said and done -- in a military surge that will (maybe) limit terrorism or (maybe, but let's hope not) increase terrorism, but will (definitely) cost your children plenty.

At any rate, there are differences there.

Now the New York Times is suggesting what surely cannot be true, that Obama's presidency will see continuation of certain key Bush proposals and tactics when it comes to military methods:

In little-noticed confirmation testimony recently, Obama nominees endorsed continuing the C.I.A.’s program of transferring prisoners to other countries without legal rights, and indefinitely detaining terrorism suspects without trials even if they were arrested far from a war zone.

The administration has also embraced the Bush legal team’s arguments that a lawsuit by former C.I.A. detainees should be shut down based on the “state secrets” doctrine. It has also left the door open to resuming military commission trials.

And earlier this month, after a British court cited pressure by the United States in declining to release information about the alleged torture of a detainee in American custody, the Obama administration issued a statement thanking the British government “for its continued commitment to protect sensitive national security information.”

Silly New York Times, don't you know that there's someone new in charge?

In an interview, the White House counsel, Gregory B. Craig, asserted that the administration was not embracing Mr. Bush’s approach to the world. But Mr. Craig also said President Obama intended to avoid any “shoot from the hip” and “bumper sticker slogans” approaches to deciding what to do with the counterterrorism policies he inherited.

Avoid "bumper sticker slogans"? But that's, uhm, all he's got. That's how he got elected. The American people are expecting and demanding solutions, much like the economic "stimulus" package, that can be wrapped up in a nifty slogan, and plastered on fridges and car bumpers across America. It's the new strategy of focusing on nifty ways of putting things that inspire hope, rather than on the dirty policy details and the complications of worrying about institutional difficulties.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on February 18, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (8)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jeff Flake explains why Americans should be free to travel to Cuba

In "Congressional bill would end ban on travel to Cuba," The Miami Herald reports:

A bipartisan bill calling for an end to the 46-year-old ban on travel to Cuba was introduced in Congress by a group of representatives led by William Delahunt of Massachusetts.

The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, introduced Feb. 4 and referred to the Foreign Relations Committee, prohibits the U.S. president from regulating or prohibiting travel to or from Cuba by U.S. residents, except in times of war between the two countries or of imminent danger to public health or the safety of U.S. travelers.

During his campaign, President Barack Obama announced that he would roll back the restrictions on travel to Cuba imposed by the Bush administration.

Under that policy, Cuban Americans can send up to $300 in cash every three months and are allowed to visit the island once every three years, although they can send gift packages of food, medicine and other items. Bush also tightened the restrictions on visits by academics, students and religious groups.

Americans with no family in Cuba generally cannot visit the island, and the Obama announcement remained unclear as to whether the easing of travel restrictions will apply to them.

The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act would then go further than Obama's campaign promise by explicitly empowering U.S. citizens and legal residents to visit the island at will.

In addition to Delahunt, other sponsors of the bill include representatives Jeff Flakes[sic],R-Ariz.; Rosa Delauro, D-Conn.; Jo-Ann Emerson, R-Mo.; James McGovern, D-Mass.; Jim Moran, R-Kansas; Donna Edwards, D-Md.; Ron Paul, R-Texas; and Sam Farr, D-Calif.

Here's one of the bill's co-sponsors, Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake, speaking last year to reason.tv about why he thinks US-Cuba relations have got to change:

More videos of Jeff Flake, just plain ol' makin' sense, here, here, and here.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on February 10, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, February 09, 2009

What's next for Ron Paul?

Picture 3 We've been keeping pretty close tabs on Ron Paul, the Texas Republican Congressman who became well-known during his 2008 presidential campaign for his unconventional libertarian stances (he opposed the Iraq War and wants to abolish the Federal Reserve System) and his band of "r3VOLutionaries," supporters whose online organization was unlike any force seen before in US politics. They gathered in local meetup groups to make home-made campaign signs and hold events to spread their message, coordinated record-breaking online fundraising "money bomb" days, and even raised money for a Ron Paul Blimp.

Although Paul's presidential campaign quietly wound down in the spring as John McCain emerged as the Republican Party's nominee for president, in the last few months, Ron Paul is once again getting attention. The successor organization for his presidential run, the Campaign for Liberty, organized a "Rally for the Republic" across the river from the Republican National Convention. The Rally, the culmination of a three-day event described by many media as a "counter-convention," attracted 10,000 attendees and a distinguished group of speakers including MSNBC host Tucker Carlson, conservative movement heavyweight Grover Norquist, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, and former Congressman Barry Goldwater Jr.

Since then, Paul has become a mainstay on CNN, CNBC and Fox Business, where he is hailed as one of those, like his campaign's economic adviser Peter Schiff and economist Nouriel Roubini, who predicted the collapse of the US housing bubble.

Today, the Atlantic Monthly's politics blog caught up with the Congressman's staff to ask "What's Ron Paul Up To?" and take a look at the future:

It's an economic crisis he largely predicted -- so what's former presidential candidate / Rep. Ron Paul up to these days?  He's thinking about the long-term. His  campaign for Liberty will start training activists at eight regional summits this year while it continues to urge followers to work against the stimulus and bailout measures in Congress.

More than 500 activists are expected to attend the first summit in St. Louis from March 25 to 27. The second summit is scheduled for April in Jacksonville and a third tentatively set for Seattle. Campaign for Liberty's Senior Vice President Jesse Benton said five more summits will be held if the first three are successful.

Paul will attend the St. Louis summit, as well as Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News legal analyst and former New Jersey Supreme Court justice, and Tom Woods, best-selling author of the "Politically Incorrect Guide to American History."

Benton said the summits will educate activists on the principles of the Constitution and train them in how to influence politics, from organizing, educating, lobbying and running for office. Already activists are getting involved in running for Republican Party leadership races in different states, Benton said.

The campaign is already fighting against the growth of government by urging hundreds of thousands of supporters to write and call Congress to oppose the stimulus package. Benton said the organization has experienced a bump in interest since the original bailout was debated last September, but that Paul's supporters have been loyal for a long time.

"I think that people who have been with us have been with us in large part," he said, adding that the campaign is re-recruiting Paul's supporters from the presidential campaign.

Benton said the campaign regularly communicates with 115,000 people and has a total roster of 500,000.

The Shotgun Blog recently spotlighted a lengthy interview with the Campaign for Liberty president John Tate, who shares more about the organization's plans, operations, and activities.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on February 9, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (5)

SC Governer Mark Sanford on the stimulus and the "savior-based economy"

South Carolina Governer Mark Sanford speaks out against the stimulus in this discussion with CNN's John King. Sanford is in fine form here, conveying his arguments with a steady sort of clarity. Sanford's principled stand to oppose money which would flow into his state is positioning him as the leading voice of fiscal conservatism in America -- and possibly for a presidential run in 2012.

From CNN Political Ticker:

As many state and local officials clamor for their share of the billions of dollars in federal aid in the stimulus bill under consideration in Washington, South Carolina’s Republican governor is sounding a note of dissent about federal efforts to help the economy.

“A problem that was created by building up of too much debt will not be solved with yet more debt,” Gov. Mark Sanford said Sunday, making a reference to the federal deficit spending that will likely finance the federal stimulus package.

“We’re moving precipitously close to what I would call a savior-based economy,” Sanford also said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

The South Carolina Republican said such an economy is “what you see in Russia or Venezuela or Zimbabwe or places like that where it matters not how good your product is to the consumer but what your political connection is to those in power.”

“That is quite different than a market-based economy where some rise and some fall but there’s a consequence to making a stupid decision,” Sanford said after pointing to the powers granted to the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve to help deal with the current economic crisis.

Read Mark Sanford explain why "bailouts are awful" and hear The Southern Avenger's thoughts on the choice between Bobby Jindal and Mark Sanford facing Republicans in 2012.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on February 9, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Ron Paul: US must repudiate philosophy of "government intervention, socialism, paper money and welfare dependancy" to get back on its feet

Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul joins us from his desk to talk about the the Senate version of the "stimulus package" (really just a plain ol' pork-filled spending package), "born-again budget conservatives" in the Republican Party, and how the US can get back on its feet:

UPDATE: The top story on CNN.com "GOP senators 'caved in' on stimulus, Paul says":

Paul, a Republican representative from Texas who sought the GOP nomination for president, said that although some people call Obama's plan to jumpstart the economy a "stimulus package," he thinks it is a "pure spending package."

The message came on a video posted on YouTube.

Paul praised his fellow House Republicans for unanimously voting against the plan but expressed disappointment that three Senate Republicans "caved in and went with the Democrats."

He didn't mention the GOP senators by name but was referring to Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both of Maine, and Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

In the video, Paul said he wondered whether Republican opposition to the spending is too little, too late.

"It is like they're born-again budget conservatives," Paul said. "Where were we in the past eight years, when we could have done something? And you see our last eight years that has set this situation up. So we can't blame the Democrats for the conditions we have.

"We have to blame both parties and presidents of the last several decades to have generated this huge government."

Posted by Kalim Kassam on February 7, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Terence Corcoran on Barack's big ideas for restoring confidence

When US President Barack Obama announced a $500,000 limit on high-level executive pay at firms receiving government assistance, Western Standard associate editor Terrence Watson didn't think it sounded like such a wise plan:

Can you say "unintended consequences"? Chasing skilled executives away from companies that are already in trouble seems like a GREAT idea.

Terence Corcoran, editor of the Financial Post, agrees:

A Washington-led campaign, spearheaded by the President himself, to impose populist controls on the compensation of executives at all public companies, not just bankers, is about to take hold. Canadian bankers are already covering their tracks, with self-inflicted compensation reductions. “It’s only the beginning of a long-term effort,” Mr. Obama said.

Great populist strategy, but like all government price controls, the $500,000 Obama compensation plan for bankers is guaranteed to produce a rash of destructive consequences.

If the big idea in executive compensation is that the incentives were all wrong, what exactly is the incentive impact of forcing executives to work for less than they can somewhere else? The greatest risk is that the very banks the government is trying to save will face an exodus of talent just when they need talent most.

University of Chicago compensation expert Steven Kaplan, in an interview yesterday, called the plan “ill-advised” and “very dangerous.” He predicts a “mass exodus” over time as employees leave in search of higher cash compensation elsewhere. [...]

At AIG, the insurance company, there is evidence that executives at healthy branches of the company, now under de facto government control, are fleeing for other, healthy insurance firms. “You will see over time a huge exodus from the companies that take money from the government.”

At banks such as Bank of America, executives of healthy parts of the company will have many options. “Strange as it sounds,” said Prof. Kaplan, “$500,000 is way below what they can get elsewhere.” Another complication is the internal corporate inequities that will emerge if the top 30 executives are frozen at $500,000, while others in lower levels earn more. [...]

No wonder investors have yet to regain confidence in the U.S. financial system and the stock market.

Barney Frank, the influential chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said yesterday that "Congress will consider extending the $500,000 salary cap to executives of all financial institutions and perhaps to all U.S. companies."

If this salary cap is really "only the beginning," and Obama will continue the bailouts and seriously consider applying these sorts of major structural changes to the entire economy, the time has come to think seriously about what economist and historian Robert Higgs calls "regime uncertainty," which "pertains above all to a pervasive uncertainty about the property-rights regime — about what private owners can reliably expect the government to do in its actions that affect private owners’ ability to control the use of their property, to reap the income it yields, and to transfer it to others on voluntarily acceptable terms."

Because, as Higgs meticulously documents, businessmen and investors in the 1930s didn't know what sorts of significant changes might be sprung upon them at any time -- and because those changes could undermine the free-enterprise-based economic system and threaten the safety of their capital, investments predictably dried up, resulting in a lengthening and deepening of the Great Depression.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on February 6, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (15)

Is Jeff Flake Robin Hood?

Depressed about the current political climate throughout the world, I turned to YouTube videos of Congressman Jeff Flake to cheer me up.

This video isn't the Congressman at his most awesome, but he still is far more impressive than most politicians these days. The key point that he made was near the end, "this is the biggest shift of wealth from those who are less powerful to those who are more powerful."

People think of Robin Hood and think; take money from the rich and give it to the poor. They then try to apply this principle to government. But they forget that Robin Hood was not taking money from wealthy industrialists. He was taking back tax dollars that had been unfairly collected by a tyrannical monarch. Robin Hood, if he was real, was a leader of a tax revolt.

The truth is that government spending will benefit the ruling elite far more than anyone else. We need a new Robin Hood who will protect people's money from an ever growing and ever more tyrannical state.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on February 6, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

New Hampshire and Washington legislators reaffirm states' rights UPDATE: 8 more states

Picture 3 I'm having difficulty deciding which recently-introduced legislation I like better: New Hampshire's House Concurrent Resolution 6 "affirming States’ rights based on Jeffersonian principles" or Washington State's House Joint Memorial 4009 "claiming state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment"

On initial inspection, the New Hampshire resolution is superior. It's a beautifully written document and by far the more radical. The preambulatory clauses tell the history of New Hampshire's contribution to the US Constitution's Ninth and Tenth Amendments and the active clauses lay out and affirm an effective, detailed, and well-explained case:

That the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a General Government for special purposes, -- delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government

My favourite part of the resolution is the end, which asserts the doctrine of nullification and calls for a dissolution of the Union should the US Government extend its reach beyond certain limits:

That any Act by the Congress of the United States, Executive Order of the President of the United States of America or Judicial Order by the Judicatories of the United States of America which assumes a power not delegated to the government of United States of America by the Constitution for the United States of America and which serves to diminish the liberty of the any of the several States or their citizens shall constitute a nullification of the Constitution for the United States of America by the government of the United States of America. Acts which would cause such a nullification include, but are not limited to:

I. Establishing martial law or a state of emergency within one of the States comprising the United States of America without the consent of the legislature of that State.

II. Requiring involuntary servitude, or governmental service other than a draft during a declared war, or pursuant to, or as an alternative to, incarceration after due process of law.

III. Requiring involuntary servitude or governmental service of persons under the age of 18 other than pursuant to, or as an alternative to, incarceration after due process of law.

IV. Surrendering any power delegated or not delegated to any corporation or foreign government.

V. Any act regarding religion; further limitations on freedom of political speech; or further limitations on freedom of the press.

VI. Further infringements on the right to keep and bear arms including prohibitions of type or quantity of arms or ammunition; and

That should any such act of Congress become law or Executive Order or Judicial Order be put into force, all powers previously delegated to the United States of America by the Constitution for the United States shall revert to the several States individually. Any future government of the United States of America shall require ratification of three quarters of the States seeking to form a government of the United States of America and shall not be binding upon any State not seeking to form such a government;

The Washington resolution is much shorter, less elegant, and is directed towards the US President, not the several states like New Hampshire's. But there is much to be said for concision. Though the 18th century literate American provincial may have been at ease with the embellished language of the New Hampshire resolution, to the average 21st century reader it may pass from articulacy to prolixity; for him, NH HCR6 might as well be as incomprehensible and protracted as the USA PATRIOT Act or the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.

The preamble of the Washington resolution lays out a simple textual and historical case for a states' rights reading of the US Constitution that should be intelligible to any college graduate (but not to any Supreme Court Justice):

WHEREAS, The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States specifically provides that, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”; and

WHEREAS, The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being those powers specifically granted to it by the Constitution of the United States and no more; and

WHEREAS, Federalism is the constitutional division of powers between the national and state governments and is widely regarded as one of America’s most valuable contributions to political science; and

WHEREAS, James Madison, “the father of the Constitution,” said, “The powers delegated to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, [such] as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people.”; and

WHEREAS, Thomas Jefferson emphasized that the states are not ”subordinate” to the national government, but rather the two are “coordinate departments of one simple and integral whole. The one is the domestic, the other the foreign branch of the same government.”; and

WHEREAS, Alexander Hamilton expressed his hope that “the people will always take care to preserve the constitutional equilibrium between the general and the state governments.” He believed that “this balance between the national and state governments forms a double security to the people. If one [government] encroaches on their rights, they will find a powerful protection in the other. Indeed, they will both be prevented from overpassing their constitutional limits by [the] certain rivalship which will ever subsist between them.”; and

WHEREAS, The scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be limited in its powers relative to those of the various states;

You can read each resolutions below the break and decide which you prefer for yourself.

UPDATE: A spate of these "10th Amendment resolutions" at the state level seems to have been sparked with last year's failed HJR 1089 [pdf] in Oklahoma "claiming sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over certain powers; serving notice to the federal government to cease and desist certain mandates; and directing distribution." The sponsor of that bill, Rep. Charles Key (R) is working on introducing similar legislation (HJR 1003) [rtf] this year which he says is likely to pass as a Republican-controlled Legislature convenes for the first time in state history.

Also in 2009, "10th Amendment resolutions" have been introduced in Arizona (HCR 2024), Michigan (HCR 0004), Missouri (HR 212), while in Montana, HB 246 uses 10th, 9th, and 2nd Amendment reasoning for "an Act exempting from federal regulation under the commerce clause of the constitution of the United States a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured and retained in Montana..."

With New Hampshire and Washington, that brings the total number of these resolutions introduced in 2009 to 7.

UPDATE 2: Dave Nalle writes, in "State Sovereignty Movement Quietly Growing":

As things stand right now it looks like Oklahoma, Washington, Hawaii, Missouri, Arizona, New Hampshire, Georgia, California, Michigan and Montana will all definitely consider sovereignty bills this year. They may be joined by Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Alaska, Kansas, Alabama, Nevada, Maine and Pennsylvania where legislators have pledged to introduce similar bills. Twenty states standing up to the federal government and demanding a return to constitutional principles is a great start, but it remains to be seen whether legislatures and governors are brave enough or angry enough to follow through. As the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress push for more expansion of federal power and spending that may help provide the motivation needed for the sovereignty movement to take off.

If you're keeping count, that brings us up to 10 states.

New Hampshire, Washington, Michigan, Hawaii and California all voted for Obama in the 2008 presidential election and have one or both houses under Democratic control. Oklahoma, Arizona, Missouri and Georgia voted for McCain and have legislatures controlled by Republicans.

HOUSE JOINT MEMORIAL 4009

State of Washington 61st Legislature 2009 Regular Session
By Representatives Shea, Klippert, Condotta, Kretz, Anderson, McCune, and Kristiansen

TO THE HONORABLE BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, AND TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES, IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED, AND TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF EACH STATE’S LEGISLATURE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:

We, your Memorialists, the Senate and House of Representatives of  the State of Washington, in legislative session assembled, respectfully represent and petition as follows:

WHEREAS, The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States specifically provides that, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”; and

WHEREAS, The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being those powers specifically granted to it by the Constitution of the United States and no more; and

WHEREAS, Federalism is the constitutional division of powers between the national and state governments and is widely regarded as one of America’s most valuable contributions to political science; and

WHEREAS, James Madison, “the father of the Constitution,” said, “The powers delegated to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, [such] as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people.”; and

WHEREAS, Thomas Jefferson emphasized that the states are not ”subordinate” to the national government, but rather the two are “coordinate departments of one simple and integral whole. The one is the domestic, the other the foreign branch of the same government.”; and

WHEREAS, Alexander Hamilton expressed his hope that “the people will always take care to preserve the constitutional equilibrium between the general and the state governments.” He believed that “this balance between the national and state governments forms a double security to the people. If one [government] encroaches on their rights, they will find a powerful protection in the other. Indeed, they will both be prevented from overpassing their constitutional limits by [the] certain rivalship which will ever subsist between them.”; and

WHEREAS, The scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be limited in its powers relative to those of the various states; and

WHEREAS, Today, in 2009, the states are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government; and

WHEREAS, Many federal mandates are directly in violation of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and

WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court has ruled in New York v. United States, 112 S. Ct. 2408 (1992), that Congress may not simply commandeer the legislative and regulatory processes of the states; and

WHEREAS, A number of proposals from previous administrations and some now being considered by the present administration and from Congress may further violate the Constitution of the United States;

NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memorialists respectfully resolve:
(1)That the State of Washington hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States; and

(2) That this serve as a Notice and Demand to the federal government to maintain the balance of powers where the Constitution of the United States established it and to cease and desist, effective immediately, any and all mandates that are beyond the scope of its constitutionally delegated powers.

BE IT RESOLVED, That copies of this Memorial be immediately transmitted to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of each state’s legislature of the United States of America, and each member of Congress from the State of Washington.

-----------------------------------------------------------

HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 6

A RESOLUTION affirming States’ rights based on Jeffersonian principles.

SPONSORS: Rep. Itse, Rock 9; Rep. Ingbretson, Graf 5; Rep. Comerford, Rock 9; Sen. Denley, Dist 3

COMMITTEE: State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs

ANALYSIS

This house concurrent resolution affirms States’ rights based on Jeffersonian principles.

09-0274

09/01

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nine

A RESOLUTION affirming States’ rights based on Jeffersonian principles.

Whereas the Constitution of the State of New Hampshire, Part 1, Article 7 declares that the people of this State have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and independent State; and do, and forever hereafter shall, exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right, pertaining thereto, which is not, or may not hereafter be, by them expressly delegated to the United States of America in congress assembled; and

Whereas the Constitution of the State of New Hampshire, Part 2, Article 1 declares that the people inhabiting the territory formerly called the province of New Hampshire, do hereby solemnly and mutually agree with each other, to form themselves into a free, sovereign and independent body-politic, or State, by the name of The State of New Hampshire; and

Whereas the State of New Hampshire when ratifying the Constitution for the United States of America recommended as a change, “First That it be Explicitly declared that all Powers not expressly & particularly Delegated by the aforesaid are reserved to the several States to be, by them Exercised;” and

Whereas the other States that included recommendations, to wit Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Virginia, included an identical or similar recommended change; and

Whereas these recommended changes were incorporated as the ninth amendment, the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people, and the tenth amendment, the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people, to the Constitution for the United States of America; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:

That the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a General Government for special purposes, -- delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force; that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral party, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress; and

That the Constitution of the United States, having delegated to Congress a power to punish treason, counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States, piracies, and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations, slavery, and no other crimes whatsoever; and it being true as a general principle, and one of the amendments to the Constitution having also declared, that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people,” therefore all acts of Congress which assume to create, define, or punish crimes, other than those so enumerated in the Constitution are altogether void, and of no force; and that the power to create, define, and punish such other crimes is reserved, and, of right, appertains solely and exclusively to the respective States, each within its own territory; and

That it is true as a general principle, and is also expressly declared by one of the amendments to the Constitution, that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people;” and that no power over the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, or freedom of the press being delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, all lawful powers respecting the same did of right remain, and were reserved to the States or the people: that thus was manifested their determination to retain to themselves the right of judging how far the licentiousness of speech and of the press may be abridged without lessening their useful freedom, and how far those abuses which cannot be separated from their use should be tolerated, rather than the use be destroyed. And thus also they guarded against all abridgment by the United States of the freedom of religious opinions and exercises, and retained to themselves the right of protecting the same. And that in addition to this general principle and express declaration, another and more special provision has been made by one of the amendments to the Constitution, which expressly declares, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press:” thereby guarding in the same sentence, and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press: insomuch, that whatever violated either, throws down the sanctuary which covers the others, and that libels, falsehood, and defamation, equally with heresy and false religion, are withheld from the cognizance of federal tribunals. That, therefore, all acts of Congress of the United States which do abridge the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, are not law, but are altogether void, and of no force; and

That the construction applied by the General Government (as is evidenced by sundry of their proceedings) to those parts of the Constitution of the United States which delegate to Congress a power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imports, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” and “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers vested by the Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof,” goes to the destruction of all limits prescribed to their power by the Constitution: that words meant by the instrument to be subsidiary only to the execution of limited powers, ought not to be so construed as themselves to give unlimited powers, nor a part to be so taken as to destroy the whole residue of that instrument: that the proceedings of the General Government under color of these articles, will be a fit and necessary subject of revisal and correction; and

That a committee of conference and correspondence be appointed, which shall have as its charge to communicate the preceding resolutions to the Legislatures of the several States; to assure them that this State continues in the same esteem of their friendship and union which it has manifested from that moment at which a common danger first suggested a common union: that it considers union, for specified national purposes, and particularly to those specified in their federal compact, to be friendly to the peace, happiness and prosperity of all the States: that faithful to that compact, according to the plain intent and meaning in which it was understood and acceded to by the several parties, it is sincerely anxious for its preservation: that it does also believe, that to take from the States all the powers of self-government and transfer them to a general and consolidated government, without regard to the special delegations and reservations solemnly agreed to in that compact, is not for the peace, happiness or prosperity of these States; and that therefore this State is determined, as it doubts not its co-States are, to submit to undelegated, and consequently unlimited powers in no man, or body of men on earth: that in cases of an abuse of the delegated powers, the members of the General Government, being chosen by the people, a change by the people would be the constitutional remedy; but, where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact, (casus non foederis), to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits: that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them: that nevertheless, this State, from motives of regard and respect for its co-States, has wished to communicate with them on the subject: that with them alone it is proper to communicate, they alone being parties to the compact, and solely authorized to judge in the last resort of the powers exercised under it, Congress being not a party, but merely the creature of the compact, and subject as to its assumptions of power to the final judgment of those by whom, and for whose use itself and its powers were all created and modified: that if the acts before specified should stand, these conclusions would flow from them: that it would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights: that confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism -- free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power: that our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go. In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. That this State does therefore call on its co-States for an expression of their sentiments on acts not authorized by the federal compact. And it doubts not that their sense will be so announced as to prove their attachment unaltered to limited government, whether general or particular. And that the rights and liberties of their co-States will be exposed to no dangers by remaining embarked in a common bottom with their own. That they will concur with this State in considering acts as so palpably against the Constitution as to amount to an undisguised declaration that that compact is not meant to be the measure of the powers of the General Government, but that it will proceed in the exercise over these States, of all powers whatsoever: that they will view this as seizing the rights of the States, and consolidating them in the hands of the General Government, with a power assumed to bind the States, not merely as the cases made federal, (casus foederis,) but in all cases whatsoever, by laws made, not with their consent, but by others against their consent: that this would be to surrender the form of government we have chosen, and live under one deriving its powers from its own will, and not from our authority; and that the co-States, recurring to their natural right in cases not made federal, will concur in declaring these acts void, and of no force, and will each take measures of its own for providing that neither these acts, nor any others of the General Government not plainly and intentionally authorized by the Constitution, shall be exercised within their respective territories; and

That the said committee be authorized to communicate by writing or personal conferences, at any times or places whatever, with any person or person who may be appointed by any one or more co-States to correspond or confer with them; and that they lay their proceedings before the next session of the General Court; and

That any Act by the Congress of the United States, Executive Order of the President of the United States of America or Judicial Order by the Judicatories of the United States of America which assumes a power not delegated to the government of United States of America by the Constitution for the United States of America and which serves to diminish the liberty of the any of the several States or their citizens shall constitute a nullification of the Constitution for the United States of America by the government of the United States of America. Acts which would cause such a nullification include, but are not limited to:

I. Establishing martial law or a state of emergency within one of the States comprising the United States of America without the consent of the legislature of that State.

II. Requiring involuntary servitude, or governmental service other than a draft during a declared war, or pursuant to, or as an alternative to, incarceration after due process of law.

III. Requiring involuntary servitude or governmental service of persons under the age of 18 other than pursuant to, or as an alternative to, incarceration after due process of law.

IV. Surrendering any power delegated or not delegated to any corporation or foreign government.

V. Any act regarding religion; further limitations on freedom of political speech; or further limitations on freedom of the press.

VI. Further infringements on the right to keep and bear arms including prohibitions of type or quantity of arms or ammunition; and

That should any such act of Congress become law or Executive Order or Judicial Order be put into force, all powers previously delegated to the United States of America by the Constitution for the United States shall revert to the several States individually. Any future government of the United States of America shall require ratification of three quarters of the States seeking to form a government of the United States of America and shall not be binding upon any State not seeking to form such a government; and

That copies of this resolution be transmitted by the house clerk to the President of the United States, each member of the United States Congress, and the presiding officers of each State’s legislature.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on February 5, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (15)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

John McCain on the 'Stimulus Package'

I'm still getting the occasional John McCain 'supporter' blast e-mail, and a few minutes ago I received one about his position on the 'Stimulus Package. (note that I am using capitals as if it was a proper noun. I figure that it was only appropriate since it is larger than the GDP of more than a few countries)

Yesterday, the Senate began debate on an economic stimulus package that is intended to get our economy back on track and help Americans who are suffering through these difficult times. Unfortunately, the proposal on the table is big on the giveaways for the special interests and corporate high rollers, yet short on help for ordinary working Americans.

This is true. Anytime that there is a lot of money being spent by government, those with connections are the ones that get first dibs on the cash flow. This is one of the key faults with Keynesian theory. Governments, of any form, simply cannot be trusted to spend money without political considerations.

Our country does not need just another spending bill, particularly not one that will load future generations with the burden of massive debt.

If I would change one phrase in that sentence I would change 'does not need' to 'can not afford.' That load is already a heavy burden for the future generations to bear. I am glad that Senator McCain recognizes the problem of debt in the United States.

We need a short term stimulus bill that will directly help people, create jobs, and provide a jolt to our economy.

Oh, never mind. It's not that spending is bad it is just the way that Obama is spending that is bad. It is not that leaving a burden for the future generations is a bad thing; it is that Obama is leaving that burden in the incorrect manner.

Suddenly I feel like that whole election thing was an exercise in futility. McCain would be using the exact same failed strategy, with a slightly different tactic.

My head hurts.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on February 3, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sarah Palin and the stimulus package

I'm getting a bit of flack over this post insisting that Alaska governor and former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is pushing for the mega-deficit, big government "stimulus" package.

iac writes: "In recent weeks Gov Palin has spoken on various occasions about the serious concerns she has about the stimulus package, not least in a letter last week to the AK congressional delegation. I urge that you read that letter and retract your misplaced comments."

Elizabeth is also keen on defending Palin's small government street-cred, writing: "I hope you correct this post soon. Palin has written out in opposition to the "stimulus" package and is receiving flak from Begich for not asking for more pork," and ending with, "Very inaccurate and misleading post!"

If only you were right, iac and Elizabeth. As regular readers of The Shotgun know, we were, and are, very sympathetic with Sarah Palin. For example, see here. Or here. Or here. Or here.

But we're not going to be Palin boosters without good reason, and we're going to hold her to a high standard. After all, she claims to be in favour of small government, so we insist that she keep her word. And Palin did, in fact, lobby for the "stimulus" package.

Here's the Cato Institute:

In the “give me my pork” camp are governors Sarah Palin, Charlie Crist, and Tim Pawlenty. Palin, darling of many “movement” conservatives came all the way to Washington to lobby for the bill.

I did overlook her willingness to not ask for too much of that pork. So, to correct the record, here's Palin supporting big government, but not quite as big as some would like:

With hundreds of billions of dollars in economic stimulus money potentially at stake, leaders in local government and the state legislature seem to be finding themselves at odds with Gov. Sarah Palin.

Lawmakers say there are concerns that Palin is seeking too little federal stimulus money, and Alaska may not get its fair share.[...]

Palin has sought only five projects from the federal government, four designed to help support the natural gas pipeline, along with the Kodiak Launch Complex.

Palin issued her list on Jan. 12, saying it would not be a good idea to ask for more, and cautioned it was necessary to be "mindful about the effect of the stimulus package on the national debt."

Only five projects... Boy, is she ever mounting the ramparts in defense of individual liberty and small government!

Here's some more milquetoast "concern" being expressed by Palin:

On Monday Palin and state lawmakers will send a joint letter to Congress detailing their concerns about the economic stimulus package.

"We have to make sure that the nation's deficit for this year and our long-term debt is not just growing to create more social programs, and to pay for some programs that states will inherit through a basically unfunded mandate," Palin said.

She supports investment in infrastructure and wants to see Alaska get its share of those dollars, but wants a cautious eye out for proposed federal programs the state may have to fund on its own in the future.

Here's Palin being quoted on the big government spending she would prefer to see, rather than the big government spending being proposed in the stimulus package:

"Alaska and other states need to be treated fairly," Governor Palin said. "Much of the stimulus plan we've seen focuses on spending for government programs that would be a burden on states to continue funding, and doesn't focus enough on spending that actually does put people back to work and stimulate the economy. Working with our D.C. staff, I took advantage of the opportunity to speak with Democrats and Republicans to voice my concerns. I appreciate their time and assistance in paying attention to our state."

Doesn't sound like she's opposed to the stimulus package to me. Sounds to me like Palin is in favour of the stimulus, but just wants all that spending to go to different projects than the ones the Obama administration is proposing.

What would I like to see? At a minimum, I'd like to see Palin have the spine to follow governors like Mitt Romney and Bobby Jindal. What I would actually like to see is Palin stand with South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, who deserves significant applause from small government conservatives and libertarians. Here's Cato again:

On the other side, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney says that he opposes the bill. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal also opposes the stimulus bill, though he admits he may accept the money if it passes. Taking the strongest stand against the bill is South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, who not only opposes the bill but says he probably would not accept any funds for his state. “It’s incumbent on me as one of the nation’s governors to speak out against what I believe is ultimately incredibly harmful to the economy, to taxpayers and to the worth of the U.S. dollar,” Sanford said.

Atta boy, Sanford. Atta boy.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on February 2, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (7)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Say it ain't so, Sarah: Palin supports Obama's mega-deficit bailout

Governor of Alaska, and former Republican vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin has expressed support for the huge "stimulus" package, and is urging GOP senators to pass the bill:

Most Republican governors have broken with their GOP colleagues in Congress and are pushing for passage of President Barack Obama's economic aid plan that would send billions to states for education, public works and health care.

Their state treasuries drained by the financial crisis, governors would welcome the money from Capitol Hill, where GOP lawmakers are more skeptical of Obama's spending priorities.

The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, planned to meet in Washington this weekend with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and other senators to press for her state's share of the package.

Interestingly, big government conservative, and former Republican presidential candidate, John McCain opposes passage of the "stimulus."

While Palin, who is angling to get the nod for GOP presidential candidate in 2012, is pushing for the bill, two other possible contenders are either not as eager, or outright in opposition to the bill.

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal said he would take the money for his state, but would have voted against it if he were still in Congress.

South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, however, is wearing his small government credentials on his sleeve:

The most outspoken critic has been South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who has warned for months of a steep spike in inflation and a severely weakened dollar if Obama's plan passed. His state is on track to receive $2.1 billion of the stimulus money; Sanford has not yet said whether he would accept it.

Read our coverage of Sanford's anti-bailout comments here. The Southern Avenger commented on Bobby Jindal vs. Mark Sanford here. We like Sanford. A lot.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on February 1, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Michael Steele becomes first black Republican National Committee chairman

From the Huffington Post:

Michael Steele became the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee on Friday after defeating his lone remaining challenger, Katon Dawson, on the sixth and final ballot. The margin was 91 votes for Steele, 77 votes for Dawson.

"This is awesome," Steele told the crowd. "I accept and appreciate all of you for the opportunity to serve as the next national chairman of our very proud, our very strong, and our very, very hard working Republican National Committee."

Here is Steele accepting the chairmanship:

National Public Radio reports:

Leaders of the fractured and demoralized national Republican Party on Friday turned to a charismatic, nationally-recognized African American to lead it into the future. Already, one thing seems clear: The party needs to write a new, post-Bush chapter, and quickly.

Supporters say it was Steele's proven abilities, and not his skin color, that catapulted him to the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee.

But the former Maryland lieutenant governor – the first African-American elected to statewide office there — also gives the overwhelmingly white party, one seeking to diversify, a decidedly new and historic face at a time when another history-making — and highly popular — Democrat occupies the White House.

USA Today's On Politics blog has a nifty exchange:

A questioner said that when Steele ran for the Senate in 2006, President Obama -- then a senator -- called him "an amiable fellow" who could do the job but had a thin resume.

"I would say to the new president, congratulations," Steele responded. "It's going to be an honor to spar with him, and I would follow that up with 'how do you like me now?'"

(Uhm, thin resume?... Pot, meet kettle.)

Meanwhile, many of us would like to know whether Steele is, in fact, the kind of conservative worth supporting. The American Spectator strikes a cautious note:

There was a lot of criticism of Michael Steele's conservative credentials during the race for RNC chairman. My own view is that Steele is personally fairly conservative, but has perhaps drunk a bit deeply of the conventional wisdom on how Republicans can appeal to the center (though, let's face it, he is a Republican who has had to try to win in a Northeastern state).

In both his bids for statewide office in Maryland, Steele ran as a strong pro-lifer in a very liberal state. In 2002, Steele had the benefit of a pro-choice candidate above him on the Republican ticket but in 2006 he was out there on his own -- and even held firm on embryonic stem-cell research. With some exceptions, Steele has defended a conservative Republican platform in hostile territory while holding the door open to moderates. Steele's chairmanship is an opportunity to bring together Republicans who want to see the party stick to its conservative principles and those who would rather it move to the center.

But we'll let Steele have the final word on his conservative credentials. Here is a (short) speech Steele gave on April 28, 2007 at the Civitas Institute:

Michael Steele's biography can be read on Fox News here.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on January 30, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (3)

Southern Avenger and why a Conservative Party loss might be good for Canadian conservatism

It's a Southern Avenger double-header today. But Jack Hunter's commentary on conservative Republican opposition to the U.S. bailout might be a salutary lesson for Canadian small government conservatives.

From Hunter:

House Republicans have put up a united front in opposing Obama’s stimulus package. Writes conservative columnist Robert Stacy McCain “Man, if all it took to get Republicans to vote conservative was to elect a Democratic president, this is a change I can believe in.” Indeed. Yesterday’s “we must support the president” big government economics is rightfully seen today as “socialism.” And whether out of principle or partisanship, it’s refreshing to see Republicans standing on conservative principle once again.

And maybe Canadian Conservatives, in the middle of a revolt, are beginning to think the same thing -- maybe losing to the coalition would have been a good thing. At the very least, Conservative M.P.s would likely have opposed a bloated, deficit-fueling coalition budget, rather than support a bloated, deficit-fueling Conservative budget. At the very least, Conservatives would have remained credible on fiscal matters. Besides that, they would have likely won a majority considering the wild unpopularity of the attempted coalition government, and the likely failure of a massive increase in government spending; they would also have avoided a grassroots revolt.

Watch Hunter's commentary:

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on January 30, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

US House of Representatives passes $819-billion Obama stimulus, Republicans sit out

CBS news reports:

The House of Representatives late Wednesday passed President Barack Obama's $819 billion plan to stimulate the economy and curtail the nation's year-old recession.

The 244-188 vote proceeded along party lines as expected. Only 12 Democrats opposed the measure, and no Republicans supported it.

Senate committees have been working on a separate version of the measure. It is not clear how quickly the Senate version will be completed, passed, and reconciled with the House measure, but Congressional leaders have promised Mr. Obama they would send him a completed bill by mid-February.

The House vote came after days of intense lobbying by the new president, including personal appeals to congressional Republicans. GOP lawmakers spurned Obama, saying the bill contains too much spending and not enough tax cuts.

Republican critics say the bill was little more than the fulfillment of a long-standing Democratic wish list. Those critics pointed to $1 billion for Amtrak, $41 billion for local school districts and $127 billion for health care for the poor and unemployed, reports CBS News chief White House correspondent Chip Reid.

[...] The legislation includes an estimated $544 in federal spending and $275 billion in tax cuts for individuals and businesses. It includes money for highway construction and mass transit.

The Obama recovery package would be the largest spending bill ever to move through Congress. The House measure had been estimated to cost $825 billion, but the Congressional Budget Office updated the bill's price tag to $816 billion after accountants recalculated the cost. That total rose by $3 billion when the House approved a Democratic amendment for mass transit.

Gentlemen, start your printing presses!

Posted by Kalim Kassam on January 28, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sarah Palin starts her own Political Action Committee: SarahPAC

Picture 3

Hot Air is confirming rumours that SarahPAC.com, a Sarah Palin-led political action committee, is the real thing.

SarahPAC describes itself as follows:

Sarah Palin's Official PAC

Dedicated to building America's future, supporting fresh ideas and candidates who share our vision for reform and innovation.

SarahPAC believes America's best days are ahead. Our country, founded on conservative principles and the fight for freedom, must confront the challenges of the 21st century with integrity, innovation, and determination.

SarahPAC believes energy independence is a cornerstone of the economic security and progress that every American family wants and deserves.

SarahPAC believes the Republican Party is at the threshold of an historic renaissance that will build a better future for all. Health care, education, and reform of government are among our key goals. Join us today!

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on January 27, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (6)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Filibuster: Training Wheels

20090125
Credit: J.J. McCullough

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on January 26, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reports: Caroline Kennedy withdrawing U.S. Senate bid

Reuters is reporting on reports that Caroline Kennedy, daughter of John F. Kennedy, is withdrawing her senatorial bid to replace Hillary Clinton in New York.

From Reuters:

Caroline Kennedy told New York Gov. David Paterson on Wednesday that she is withdrawing from consideration to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate, New York media reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources.

So few Kennedys have actually done anything productive for a living (except for all that rum running by Joe "Baptist Bootlegger" Kennedy, father of John F., grandfather to Caroline), maybe there's hope for Caroline Kennedy still.

UPDATE: The New York Post is insisting that Kennedy withdrew her name after it was clear that she wasn't going to be chosen:

Caroline Kennedy tonight withdrew her name from consideration to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate after learning that Gov. David Paterson wasn't going to choose her, The Post has learned.

Kennedy's decision removes the highest-profile name in the ring to step into Clinton's now-vacant seat, as she departs after getting confirmed today as President Obama's Secretary of State.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on January 21, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

Your awesome (president) Obama video of the day: I pledge

Before you rake me over the coals for even posting this video, understand that merely watching this video gives me the feeling of being raked over the coals.

I've got a new pledge for all you pledgers: I pledge to mind my own damn business. Just repeat it a few times, until you stop having the urge to bend a knee before a photo of Obama.

What is it with these people? Did they not think that it was a good idea to help people before Obama? Did they think that helping people, donating food to the food bank, being friendly, and so on, was prohibited before Obama came along and hope and change came flooding in? Go, help people. Pledge to do it if you want to. But don't do it because Obama is in office.

Oops, I forgot myself for a moment. Yes, hope, change, glory, glory, allelujah. Hosanah in the highest, and so on. Here's a bunch of celebrities making pledges and creeping out those few of us who aren't busy thinking that no one will have to pay their mortgage anymore:

UPDATE: Okay, I'll be honest. I couldn't watch the whole video all the way through before posting it here on the Shotgun. I'm sorry, but the video makes me feel totally uncomfortable. So I didn't get the chance to hear Demi Moore pledge to be a "servant" to Barack Obama.

I pledge to continue to think that Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore are a pair of dim bulbs.

Also, I pledge never to be a servant to any politician, bureaucrat, or government agent.

But I don't have a problem with pledges in principle. For example, here are some pledges that I'm happy to hear about:

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on January 21, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (8)

Will Obama get the neoconservatives back in the Democratic fold?

Gabriel Schoenfeld has an interesting op-ed up at the Wall Street Journal. She openly wonders whether or not the neoconservatives will find a home again in the Democratic Party. After all, she writes, the neocons are left-wing on everything but the war, and were once part of the Democratic Party.

"Neoconservative" and "neocon" have become terms of abuse, denoting right-wing extremism. But the original neoconservatives began mostly as left-leaning intellectuals who only deserted the Democratic Party after it fell under the influence of the counterculture during the Vietnam War. With Barack Obama about to become president, is there any chance neoconservatives will finally return to the roost?[...]

At least maybe. Ron Paul and the paleoconservative wing of the Republican Party have always argued that Republicans were the party of non-intervention. Paul was all-too-happy to repeat, again and again, Bush's campaign promises of a humble foreign policy, and a non-interventionist approach in general. This theme was consistent within the GOP until very recently (by historical standards).

But here's something that struck me as strange in Schoenfeld's article. She writes:

On judicial appointments and the role of the courts, Mr. Obama and the neoconservatives will no doubt remain continents apart. But on immigration, where the neoconservatives have never abandoned their traditional liberal sympathies for the newcomer, there is another basis for affinity.

Now that seething hostility toward immigrants and the heartless work-place roundups of illegal aliens carried out by the Bush administration have brought the GOP low, neoconservative intellectuals will find little common ground with those Republicans who helped drive away Hispanic voters and marched their party off the electoral cliff. If Mr. Obama pushes for immigration reform that balances humaneness with respect for the rule of law, he will almost certainly draw in some neoconservatives.

Affinity for the newcomer? Really? Maybe someone can correct my impressions, but I do get the sense that neocons tend not only to be interventionist in their foreign policy, but also to have a mistrust of foreigners in general. After all, part and parcel of the war on terror was increased security at the borders, and stricter rules about entering the U.S. I'm well aware of the paleoconservative opposition to immigration, repeatedly expressed by paleocons like Pat Buchanan and anti-immigrant conservatives like Lou Dobbs. But I never thought of neoconservatives as being pro-immigration.

Schoenfeld ends the article by writing:

But to judge by his initial appointments, Mr. Obama recognizes that trying to govern this inherently conservative country to the tune of the "progressive" wing of the party is only a means for seeing his hopes for change dashed and denied.

On the other hand, if he extends an olive branch to the neoconservatives -- as he has done with the social conservatives by inviting the pastor Rick Warren, a supporter of California's gay-marriage ban, to deliver his inaugural invocation, or by breaking bread with leading conservative intellectuals last week -- he might pick up some surprising allies. He might also fracture the opposition's idea machine and help turn the Republicans back into the stupid party for years to come.

So there you have it. The "most left-wing senator in years" may just turn out to govern from somewhere near the centre-right. At least that's Schoenfeld's hope.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on January 21, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (6)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

VP Joe Biden's wife reveals Obama may have broken campaign laws

Here's the story from aol.com, and I though Joe was the one prone to gaffes:

Appearing on Oprah Winfrey's show this afternoon [ed: yesterday], Jill Biden, wife of Vice-President elect Joe Biden, made a verbal gaffe that could land the Obama Administration in some hot water. Mrs. Biden let slip that her husband Joe was offered a choice of either the Secretary of State's position or the Vice-Presidency.

The potential problem for the Obama Administration goes far beyond the obviously embarrassing revelation that Hillary Clinton was actually the second choice for Secretary of State, however. Promising an appointment to a federal office by a candidate in exchange for support is a crime.

Title 18 chapter 29 section 599 of the United States code is very specific about such promises, and the punishment that goes along with making them [Hat tip: RedState].

"Whoever, being a candidate, directly or indirectly promises or pledges the appointment, or the use of his influence or support for the appointment of any person to any public or private position or employment, for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if the violation was willful, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

If Jill Biden is telling the truth, and from Joe Biden's reaction, quickly shushing her, she apparently is, somebody in the Obama campaign has some questions to answer. Who offered Biden the positions of Secretary of State or Vice-President? Did Barack Obama know about the offer or make it himself?

Biden spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander has issued the following statement.

"Dr. Biden's point to Oprah was that being vice president would be abetter fit for their family because they would get to see him more and get to participate in serving more,'' the statement said. "To be clear, President-elect Obama offered vice president-elect Biden one job only - to be his running mate. And the vice president-elect was thrilled to accept the offer.''

I suppose that will put an end to that. No more questions. Still above the law.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on January 20, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (8)

(Video) Political Ad Watch: Iraq Veterans Against the War message to Obama

This ad from Iraq Veterans Against the War aired on NBC in the major-media markets of San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia, Albuquerque, New York City, and Washington DC three minutes before Obama took the Inaugural Oath:


In his speech Obama echoed his election promises on Iraq and Afghanistan saying "we will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan."

Even with this strong rhetoric and repeated commitments to put an Iraq drawdown high on his priorities, it doesn't seem likely that US troops will be completely withdrawn from Iraq as the Iraq Veterans group would like. Though Obama may technically fulfill his promises, his plans seem to allow for tens of thousands of "non-combat troops" to remain in Iraq. Announcing his foreign policy team on December 4th Obama explained:

"I said that I would remove our combat troops from Iraq in 16 months, with the understanding that it might be necessary – likely to be necessary – to maintain a residual force to provide potential training, logistical support, to protect our civilians in Iraq."

Obama's comments today seem to have had little effect on online predictions markets, below is a graph of the the contract price for the outcome “Number of US Troops in Iraq (given a Democratic president) as of June 2010” on Intrade.com, a popular website whose members bet real money to speculate on the outcomes of future events:
Price for Democratic President and US Troop Levels in Iraq (see contract rules) at intrade.com
According to the contract rules, the current trading price price of 36.6 means the market expects 73,200 US troops to be remaining in Iraq in June 2010, approximately 60% down from present levels.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on January 20, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

Obama's words paint pretty pictures

A word cloud of President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address:
Picture 1
The message? As far as I can tell: "Today America people must work new nation common world."

The word "less" is a pretty prominent, with "liberty," "freedom" and "market" quite a bit less so.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on January 20, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink | Comments (2)